Oberleutnant zur See (Crew 38)
2 ships sunk, total tonnage 7,559 GRT
1 ship damaged, total tonnage 7,176 GRT
1 ship a total loss, total tonnage 9,551 GRT
|Born||25 Dec 1919||Gumbinnen, East Prussia|
|Died||22 Feb 1945||(25)||west of Cadiz|
|U-300||29 Dec 1943||22 Feb 1945 (+)||3 patrols (124 days)|
Fritz Hein joined the Kriegsmarine in 1938. He went through officer training from Nov. 1938 to April 1940 when he was assigned to the battleship Scharnhorst. In Oct. 1940 he was transferred to Scharnhorst's sister ship, Gneisenau, on which he served until June 1942 (Busch & Röll, 1999).
Ltnt. Fritz Hein joined the U-boat force in June 1942 and after completing preliminary training in Oct. 1942 joined U-333 as 2nd Watch Officer (IIWO). He then served as 1st Watch Officer (IWO) from 1 Feb. to Sept. 1943 (Busch & Röll, 1999). He spent 182 days at sea on U-333 over three patrols (Busch & Röll, 1997), during which one ship was sunk, the Greek merchantman Carras, on 19 March 1943 (Rohwer, 1998).
Oblt. Hein underwent U-boat commander training in Sept. 1943 with 2. UAA, followed by Baubelehrung (U-boat construction familiarization) while his own boat was being built (Busch & Röll, 1999).
On 29 Dec. 1943 Oblt. Fritz Hein commissioned the new type VIIC/41 U-300 from the Bremen-Vegesack shipyard (Busch & Röll, 1999). He spent the next six months on working up exercises in the Baltic. On 18 July 1944 he left on patrol from Horten, Norway, but was forced to retreat to Trondheim by damage from an air attack on 4 Aug.
Hein left on the 4 Oct. for the second patrol, in Icelandic waters, and hunted off Reykjavik, the capital. On 10 Nov. he sank two ships: the British tanker Shirvan and the neutral Icelandic merchantman Goðafoss, which had stopped against orders to collect survivors from the burning Shirvan (Rohwer, 1998).
U-300 was sunk five days after that, on 22 Feb. 1945, by gunfire from the British minesweepers HMS Recruit and HMS Pincher and the yacht HMS Evadne, in the North Atlantic west of Cadiz, Spain. Nine dead and 41 survivors (Niestlé, 1998). Oblt. Hein was not among the survivors (Busch & Röll, 1999).
Discounted story: US Army officer's postwar mission of vengeance
On 10 Nov. 1944 U-300 sank the neutral Icelandic passenger ship Goðafoss. In an interview in a documentary, Árásin á Goðafoss (The attack on Godafoss), shown on Icelandic National TV (RUV) on 1 Jan 2010, the son of a US Army officer whose wife and child were lost with the ship claimed his father tracked Fritz Hein down to an address in Bavaria at the end of the war with the intention of murdering him. He also claimed his father met Hein's sister, who told him that Hein had died in the war.
Fritz Hein's only living relative strongly objects to this story, and in any case only lived in Bavaria from 1952, and therefore could not have met the officer and spoken to him when claimed. This account, stretching credibility to begin with, thus has to be false.
Blair, C. (1998). Hitler’s U-boat War. The Hunted, 1942-1945.
Busch, R. and Röll, H-J. (1999). German U-boat commanders of World War II.
Busch, R. and Röll, H-J. (1997). Der U-Bootkrieg 1939-1945 (Band 2).
Eckhardt, H. (13 Jan 2011). Letter from Dr. Herta Eckhardt
Icelandic National Radio (1 Jan 2010). Árásin á Goðafoss. Reykjavík.
Niestlé, A. (1998). German U-boat losses during World War II.
Rohwer, J. (1998). Axis Submarine Successes of World War Two.
Patrol info for Fritz Hein
|1.||U-300||13 Jul 1944||Kiel||15 Jul 1944||Horten||3 days|
|2.||U-300||18 Jul 1944||Horten||17 Aug 1944||Trondheim||Patrol 1,||31 days|
|3.||U-300||4 Oct 1944||Trondheim||2 Dec 1944||Stavanger||Patrol 2,||60 days|
|4.||U-300||21 Jan 1945||Stavanger||22 Feb 1945||Sunk||Patrol 3,||33 days|
|3 patrols, 124 days at sea|
Ships hit by Fritz Hein
|Date||U-boat||Name of ship||Tons||Nat.||Convoy|
|10 Nov 1944||U-300||Shirvan||6,017||br||UR-142|
|10 Nov 1944||U-300||Godafoss||1,542||is||UR-142|
|17 Feb 1945||U-300||Michael J. Stone (d.)||7,176||am||UGS-72|
|17 Feb 1945||U-300||Regent Lion (t.)||9,551||br||UGS-72|
3 ships sunk (17,110 tons) and 1 ship damaged (7,176 tons).
About ranks and decorations
Ranks shown in italics are our database inserts based on the rank dates of his crew comrades. The officers of each crew would normally have progressed through the lower ranks at the same rate.